Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 24: With the Centre having rejected any foreign aid to provide relief in flood-hit Kerala, the BJP unit of the state has asked if the United Arab Emirates (UAE) even offered a Rs 700 cr aid.
This comes at a time when Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked the BJP-led Centre to explain as to why the aid offered by the UAE cannot be excepted.
Addressing the media, state BJP chief PS Sreedharan Pillai said: "We want Vijayan to explain about this news and from where he received it. After the Centre expressed reservations in accepting the aid, a vicious smear campaign was unleashed against the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi."
The Ministry of External Affairs had earlier stated that India is capable of meeting the requirements of Kerala's rehabilitation through domestic efforts.
The central government has already announced Rs 600 crore in aid, and also assured relief materials including food grain, medicines would be provided. While the flood-battered state has asked for a Rs 2,600 crore special package from the Centre for its Rs 20,000 crore losses, the latter has so far extended Rs 600 crore in help.
On Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and former CM Oommen Chandy, all raised questions as to how the state will recover from the massive damages if the Centre keeps rejecting foreign aid
The MEA, on its part, said: "The Government of India deeply appreciates offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods (in Kerala)...In line with existing policy, government is committed to meeting requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts. Contributions to PM Relief Fund and CM Relief Fund from NRIs, PIOs and international entities such as foundations would, however, be welcome."
However not accepting foreign aid is part of the Disaster Aid Policy that has been in place since December 2004. This policy has been followed since the tsunami hit India in December 2004.
Back then, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who was the Prime Minister had said that India could manage on its own. He further said that if the need arose, then India would think of accepting financial aid from foreign countries. This has been the policy since then. Prior to this India had accepted foreign aid on various occasions.